Even the flowers at Rolls-Royce are bespoke: Inside the creation of the Phantom Rose
Spring brings about a sense of renewal and rebirth. Lambs are born in the countryside as grass grows tall and bees begin buzzing around gardens full of flowers. In Goodwood, West Sussex, England, a very special rose blooms.
The Phantom Rose is a bespoke rose with a storied history, a theme that runs parallel with the super luxury auto brand whose headquarters the flower calls home - Rolls-Royce.
Harkness Rose floral nursery worked for eight years to perfect the bespoke rose.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Philip Harkness, a British horticulturalist and rose breeder bred the Phantom Rose especially for the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective. Harkness is of the Harkness Rose floral nursery in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, which is renowned for having developed and bred several types of roses, having won gold at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show more than 25 times in the last 50 years.
The fresh breed of rose was commissioned by Rolls-Royce. Upon commissioning, Rolls-Royce Bespoke Designer Sina-Maria Eggl, commented, "The rose had to embody Rolls-Royce's poise, elegance and allure. The result was a very pure, delicate but voluminous white flower: sensual, but strong in presence, with an alluring aroma and extra winter durability."
It took eight years for Harkness to develop. It was, he says, a labour of love. "A rose has the ability to captivate you on many levels. It is a thing of beauty, it can stimulate the senses with wonderful perfume, the soft touch of the petals or the rasping pain from a thorn. It touches our emotions, signifies love and appears in some of our finest poetry."
Rolls-Royce describes the Phantom Rose as, "a blousy, creamy-white flower, offering a full bloom of 50 petals and a rich perfume."
The rose snow grows in a specially designed bed, fringed with lavender, that runs alongside the reflection ponds adjacent to the marque's Sir Nicholas Grimshaw plant. Rolls-Royce associates designers can view the rose bed through the plant's floor-to-ceiling glass as they work.
The bed is very near where Rolls-Royce's bee operation is housed.
In 2017, Rolls-Royce undertook a one-off design for Phantom's Gallery featuring the rose. The Gallery is protected by an uninterrupted piece of glass that spans the width of the Phantom and is backlit. Stems of the rose were flown to master artisans from world-renowned porcelain manufacturers in Nymphenburg, Germany where they were examined in various stages from bud to bloom. The artisans crafted white porcelain versions of the rose in a process that took three months.
More recently, the Phantom Rose served as an inspiration for a million-stitch Rose Phantom, which featured embroidered flowers throughout the cabin of the vehicle. Learn more about the creation of the Rose Phantom by watching the short film below.